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SALT LAKE CITY — A grocery store with a loyal following opens this Friday in Salt Lake City. Trader Joe's is expected to attract a slew of shoppers, all eager for their unique name-brand products.
Employees spent the day Tuesday stocking the shelves at the new 634 E. 400 South location. Devoted buyers of Cat cookies and frozen Mandarin Orange Chicken, even peppermint JoJo's, will all be able to buy it all Friday morning at 8:00.
"We really want to give our customers a great value, good food, and have fun while they're doing it," said Rory Violette, captain of the Salt Lake store.
Indeed, with its homey setting, with locally created murals, handmade signs and international and comfort foods, Trader Joe's is a corporate chain that's carved out a clever niche. A key to its success may be the products: unique and priced attractively, with no formal advertising.
It's all a deliberate marketing scheme, according to Nancy Panos Schmitt, an associate professor of marketing at Westminster College.
"People swear by various categories of goods that you can only by there, obviously. So, people are very excited about Trader Joe's,'" Schmitt said.
Trader Joe's location is within a mile of some fierce competition: namely, Whole Foods, Spouts, Smiths and Harmon's.
Bob Harmon, co-owner of Harmon's grocery stores, says his company has spent tens of millions of dollars on its stores over the last 10 years. He is also keeping tabs on what customers want, concentrating on local products — all parts of his job, he says.
"We've really re-engineered what we're offering in the consumer, in terms of high-quality, fresh items — natural, organic.
But Trader Joe's still seems to be something different for a lot of people. Just to clear, something up will be stocking 3.2 beer, but no wine at this new store.